Meeting Home Assistant

5 minute read

Once created our Home Assistant server, let’s see how its web interface works and how to make the basic settings to start working and enjoy our intelligent home.

Disponible en español aquí.

To access the web interface, as we saw in the previous article, simply go to http://hassio.local:8123 if your router has mDNS, or http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8123 otherwise, replacing the xs with the IP you previously configured in the network configuration, and then logging in with the account created during installation.

Lovelace

Home Assistant, apart from a web server, displays a web app so that we can visualize all the entities and automations created in a very simplified way. This visual part is called Lovelace.

By default Lovelace is configured to “autodiscover” configurations and automations, that means that if we integrate some device through the integrations wizard, or as we will see later through the configuration file, automatically we will be shown cards and information on the main screen (Summary).

Home Assistant Lovelace

In addition, and accessing from the menu on the left, we will have by default the following features:

  • Map: A full screen map where we will have available all the devices or people that we have marked to track, as well as different zones that we configure. For example, one area could be our home, and another could be our work office. In this way, in Home Assistant our partner could know if we are coming home or we are in a traffic jam.

  • Logbook: Página para ver todos los cambios que han ocurrido en nuestras entidades a lo largo del tiempo a modo de log. Se puede filtrar para tener una visión más clara.

  • History: Page to see all the changes that have happened in our entities over time as a log. It can be filtered to have a clearer vision.

  • Hass.io: If we have installed HA (Home Assistant) through Hass.io or we have installed it a posteriori, from this tab we will have available all the options that it offers, such as Snapshots, installation and management of Add-ons, and Log of the system among others.

  • Configuration: From here we will make all the configuration of Home Assistant in a more graphical way. So much users, as integrations, areas, entities customization…

    To add a new integration just access integrations from this menu.

    More advanced users tend to largely skip this tab and try to configure everything using source code. In future post we will see the reasons.

  • Developer tools: This is the most advanced part of the menu. It contains entries and options to change the different services, entities, states of the entities,… as well as to create templates and the information of Home Assistant as current version, log, and system information.

If you don’t like Lovelace, there are ways to change the themes, add cards and custom components to suit your needs. And if none of this convinces you, there are dashboard alternatives such as the Add-on Home Panel.

Installing our first Add-on

To break the ice with Hass.io, there’s nothing better than to start installing Add-ons. These Add-ons are improvements that are applied to our web server to give them new features. To access them, simply go to the Hass.io tab and then go to the Add-on Store option.

Add-on Store

In this page we will have the Add-ons collected from different repositories. At the moment, from the official Add-ons repository and from the community’s verified Add-ons repository. You can add as many repositories as you want, even Add-ons own repositories that we are developing.

As a trial and step install a useful Add-on. Select the Add-on Check Home Assistant configuration from the list.

Check Home Assistant Configuration

When a new version of Hass.io and/or Home Assistant is released, it sometimes comes with Breaking Changes, that is to say, with changes that can spoil our configuration and make some things stop working or even that our whole system collapses and doesn’t start. The Check Home Assistant configuration Add-on takes care of reviewing all our configuration, installing the new version in a separate container and proving that there is no problem. It doesn’t guarantee 100% that everything is perfect, but at least it gives us an idea that we can at least install and start the server once we upgrade to the new version.

To install, as simple as clicking on INSTALL, and once installed, and as indicated in the documentation and for this Add-on, click on START.

Installing Check Home Assistant Configuration

It’ll take a few minutes. But when it’s over, at the bottom, in the Log, we’ll have a record of what the Add-on has done, and whether our system is ready to update. From now on, we just have to hit the START button every time we want to test what would happen if we updated Hass.io.

Check Home Assistant Configuration Log

The Add-on will stop automatically when finished. Of course, other Add-ons don’t work this way, they have a permanent functionality and we can even start them with the Hass.io startup in such a way that they are always available.

Creating our first automation

One of the most useful features of Home Assistant is the automations. Again, although they can be created from the dashboard, as we will see now, many users tend to perform these automations using yaml code and python scripts to facilitate their reuse and backup.

To test how automations work, go to Configuration - Automations, and click on the button to create a new one.

Home Assistant Automations

Set the following parameters:

  • Name: HA Started.
  • Triggers:
    • Type: Home Assistant
    • Event: Start
  • Conditions: Skip this part.
  • Actions:
    • Type: Call Service
    • Service: persistent_notification.create
    • Service Data:

      {
        "title": "Home Assistant",
        "message": "Home Assistant started."
      }
      

Save.

Home Assistant Automation

The automation created triggers a notification for all users on the dashboard when Home Assistant starts. To test it, go to the Settings -> General tab and click Restart at the bottom. After waiting a few minutes, Home Assistant will have restarted. Go back to the main page (you can click on the Summary tab), and you will see a notification at the top right.

Home Assistant nueva notificación

Clicking will display the notification that has just been sent with our automation.

Home Assistant mostrar notificación

Conclusion

Now you know the basics to start playing Home Assistant. My recommendation is that you start playing, create integrations, configurations, automations and discover all the potential that Home Assistant hides. In a few minutes you’ll be eager to make your whole home smart.

This and other articles complement the documentation of the GitHub repository where all the configuration of my house is available.

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